The Texas Rangers re-signed mid-level starter Vicente Padilla for $34M today. The Monk thought that was a bit high but reflective of the market for a four-year contract.
No, The Monk is wrong again -- Padilla signed a THREE-year deal. That's $11.33M per year for 2007, 2008 and 2009, with a club option (the only smart part) at $12M in 2010 for a pitcher who is 66-61 in his career, 4.06 ERA in primarily the NL and who hasn't had an ERA under 4.50 since 2002. Padilla's former team, the Phillies, signed Adam Eaton (career 54-45, 35 starts in the past TWO years, career high wins = 11, ERAs of 4.61 and 4.27 in his last two seasons with San Diego -- the team with the most pitcher-friendly ballpark in baseball) to $24.5M/3. The Monk has said time and again that the driving force in baseball salaries is overpaying mediocre pitchers (see: Mets and Kris Benson). At least this year it does not look like the Yanks will join the worst of the feeding frenzy.
It gets worse: Ted Lilly and Gil Meche, two career-.500 pitchers, are both seeking $40M/4 deals. No wonder the Yanks overbid on Igawa, a Lilly-esque lefty (sneaky fastball, good changeup, high strikeouts without 95mph heat) who is 3 years younger and, after luxury tax effects, probably $8-12M less expensive.
This is the NBA factor -- pay ridiculous sums for stiffs. And who will that hurt the worst later on? The fans who will have to pay more and more to watch these mediocrities on the field.